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The Golden Compass: Official Illustrated Movie Companion Paperback – Bargain Price, November 1, 2007
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Learn more
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Brian Sibley's books are NOT like that. They DO tell you all kinds of things that are fun to find out and which you almost certainly didn't know from watching the movie. The books he wrote about the making of The Lord of the Rings were all wonderfully informative and full of luscious detail, for example.
So is this one.
Interviews with the stars, the director, the costume and set design people, even the cinematographer-- within the short compass [to coin a phrase] of this book, much of what you didn't know about the making of The Golden Compass is revealed.
For example, there's a bit about some of the symbolism: About how the circle represents Lyra and her childhood innocence; and how the Magisterium is represented by the oval--" . . . a circle that is trying to stretch itself and make itself bigger," thereby distorting the truth of innocence. As avid a movie-watcher as I am, and as big a fan of this particular movie as I am [I've seen it three times so far and will buy it on DVD the split second it becomes available], I would never have picked up on that in a billion years. It's the sort of subliminal message-creation that makes visual art so exciting, but it doesn't hurt to know about it consciously either.
There's a lot about the movie that ISN'T revealed, too, though. For example, Tom Stoppard's participation in early versions of the screenplay is glossed over by omitting his identity. Another major omission is the declawing, defusing, and deliberate obfuscation of the core theme of the book the movie is based on--the 'Holy Church' in the book is called merely 'The Magisterium' in the movie, and all references to Biblical and alternate theologies have been carefully excised, as though the Intercision Machine had been turned loose on the book's pages.
Nevertheless, for the type of book it is, Sibley's behind-the-scenes feast provides everything you really need to know about the motion picture, including fantastic evidence that it's well worth seeing. (Which it is, to put it mildly.)